The WCO Harmonized System Committee (HSC) held its 61st Session from 6 to 16 March 2018 at WCO Headquarters in Brussels

16 March 2018

The WCO Harmonized System Committee (HSC) held its 61st Session from 6 to 16 March 2018 at WCO Headquarters in Brussels. The session, with the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Harmonized System (HS) Convention as a backdrop, was attended by more than 120 participants representing 67 Contracting Parties to the HS Convention, one WCO Member administration and a number of international and regional organizations.

During this session, the HSC took 275 classification decisions (251 of which related to pharmaceutical products (International Nonproprietary Names, INN)). These decisions apply to a wide range of products covered by the HS Nomenclature as a whole in at least seven different areas.

Productive discussions were held on how to classify products newly released on to the world market, primarily in areas which included cutting-edge technology (for example, 3D printing pens, superluminescent diode modules, communication antennas, equipment for manufacturing LCD modules, a smartphone and an unmanned aerial vehicle).

The Committee also adopted four sets of amendments to the Explanatory Notes and approved 36 new Classification Opinions, and just one Classification Opinion was deleted.

As part of the work to prepare the Seventh Edition of the HS (HS 2022), 30 sets of amendments to the Nomenclature were adopted. Some decisions were submitted to the HS Review Sub-Committee for consideration of possible amendments to the Nomenclature, particularly on issues relating to the environment and human security or for the clarification of texts on the classification of goods such as, for instance, light-emitting diode products and flat-screen display units.

The Committee also took a number of decisions to refer questions of classification of goods of a scientific nature to the Scientific Sub-Committee for further clarification and detailed examination, such as cell therapy products, for example.

This meeting was an opportunity to present a report on the position of Contracting Parties to the HS Convention as regards implementation of HS 2017 and as regards HS Recommendations and related matters. As at 1 January 2018, 108 Contracting Parties had implemented HS 2017, and by the end of the first quarter of 2018, the total number of Contracting Parties applying HS 2017 should stand at 116.

During the meeting, the Director of Tariff and Trade Affairs announced that the Administrations of Ghana and Azerbaijan had notified the Secretariat that they had accepted certain Council Recommendations, pointing out that the Ghanaian Administration had accepted seven Recommendations, reflecting the firm commitment to implementing them on the part of a developing country.